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Low-Residency MFA in Screenwriting Degree

In just two years, write a marketable screenplay and earn your MFA in Narrative Media Writing with a concentration in Screenwriting from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, home of the Peabody Awards and one of the top journalism schools in the country. This two-year low-residency MFA in Screenwriting Degree program is designed to train writers who will be produced. The low-residency MFA in Screenwriting Degree program offers students an unparalleled opportunity to develop screenwriting skills that will equip them for long and varied careers. The program features a committed and diverse roster of accomplished screenwriters and other industry professionals who work closely with students to inspire and support each writer's emerging craft and voice. 

Low-residency MFA in Screenwriting Degree graduates are prepared to write screenplays for major motion picture and television companies or teach writing at the university level. A concentration in narrative nonfiction is also available.

Online Screenwriting Degree Program Details

UGA's unique low-residency MFA program offers concentrations in screenwriting or narrative nonfiction and allows students to complete most of the screenwriting degree requirements online while developing their skills and talents under the guidance of experienced faculty writing mentors. Students begin each semester by visiting campus for an intensive 8-day residency, followed by a four-month online writing period, during which each student works closely with a professional faculty mentor. Over the course of the screenwriting degree program, students build a substantive portfolio of screenwriting or narrative nonfiction, reflecting their individual styles and interests. Students receive individualized instruction from assigned mentors who help them to develop and hone crucial career skills, ultimately completing a marketable screenplay or full-length manuscript of publishable quality.

The screenwriting degree programs' co-directors — award-winning producer Nate Kohn and award-winning author and journalist the late Valerie Boyd — have assembled a diverse group of writing mentors who will challenge students to do their best work, to explore the role of the writer in society, and to use their writing to make a difference in the diverse communities in which they live.

The Screenwriting concentration is designed for feature film and television writers who want to take their writing skills to the next level and who understand the advantages that the MFA degree affords. The screenwriting degree program is aimed at experienced writers who want to explore new creative opportunities in telling stories that matter for large and small screens. The screenwriting degree program allows students to work one-on-one with experienced mentors who are currently vital members of the entertainment community and who understand the challenges and opportunities found in new technologies. Most of all, the program is for writers who value the power, purpose, and meaning of stories well told. 


The University of Georgia is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication is accredited by the Accrediting Council on Education in Journalism and Mass Communications (ACEJMC).


This screenwriting degree program is taught by a diverse group of full-time faculty, visiting writing mentors and industry experts. In addition to our core faculty mentors, a variety of accomplished writers and recognized industry leaders are brought in to share their knowledge with our students at each residency.


Tuition & Fees

Tuition and fees are subject to change.

Use the Estimated Cost Calculator on the Bursar's Office website for current tuition and fees. This program is an E-Rate program, so choose “yes” for the E-Rate line item within the calculator. Select Narrative Media Writing.

Online students pay the following fees: Connect UGA, Green, and Technology. Potential additional costs include textbooks, exam proctoring fees, and technology upgrades.

Visit the Office of Student Financial Aid for information about financial assistance for the Screenwriting Degree program.

Corporate Assistance

Consult your employer about the availability of tuition reimbursement or tuition assistance programs.

Military Assistance

Active duty military, veterans, and military families should visit Veterans Educational Benefits to take full advantage of available financial assistance and educational benefits.


Total Hours Required to Earn Degree: 36 (credit hours)

Screenwriting Degree Program Admission Requirements:

Students applying to The University of Georgia must be accepted by the Graduate School. Persons holding a bachelor's degree from any institution accredited by the proper regional accrediting association are eligible to apply for admission to the Graduate School.

Applications are accepted starting in Fall semester prior to anticipated Fall semester matriculation. Although the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) is not required for admission to this program, requirements include:

  • Personal Statement
  • A 20-page Writing Sample
  • Three (3) Letters of Recommendation
  • Resume or Curriculum Vitae

Screenwriting Degree Program Application Checklist:

  1. Application - Submit online to the Graduate School Admissions. Application fee: $75 Domestic/$100 International. (waived for US veterans).
  2. Select Campus - Online
  3. Select Intended Program - MFA, Narrative Media Writing (College of Journ-Mass Comm) [MFA_NMWR_ONL] 
  4. Select Area of Emphasis – Screen Writing
  5. Statement of Purpose - Submit a one-page statement of purpose online to the Graduate School. The statement of intent should clarify the candidate's relevant background, interests, and goals in relation to the program.
  6. Writing Sample - Submit a 20-page sample of your best writing (nonfiction, fiction or screenplay) in a PDF document to the Grady Graduate Administrative Assistant, anne.hurne@uga.edu. The writing sample may be a single work or a portfolio of various articles, essays, short screenplays, etc. Program faculty will assess the quality of each applicant's work — a major criterion for admission.
  7. Resume or curriculum vita - Submit online to the Graduate School.
  8. Transcripts – Submit unofficial transcripts from all institutions attended as part of the online application. Send official transcripts after you are offered admission
  9. Letters of Recommendation - Submit three letters of recommendation online to graduate school. Letters should be from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s scholarly ability and potential for success in a graduate program. Preferably at least two of them are from faculty who have instructed the applicant in a previous program of study. The application will prompt your recommenders to submit their letters electronically.

Screenwriting Degree Program Application Deadlines:

Fall:  April 1


Low-Residency Format

UGA's two-year, low-residency MFA program embraces the changing needs of students — particularly working professionals — by allowing them to complete their screenwriting degree without having to relocate. Our program offers students the chance to continue their lives while learning the skills crucial to advancing their careers. The low-residency format also perfectly simulates the life of the writer — offering two things that every successful writer needs: a strong, supportive community as well as the freedom and solitude to write.

Each 15-week semester begins with a campus residency that features a demanding program of writing workshops in which student work is discussed and evaluated. The residencies run for eight days, with students immersing themselves in an intensive writing environment for a full, enriching week. The flexible schedule accommodates professionals who have two weeks of paid leave — while providing students with the opportunity to build a sense of community with their peers and to engage in serious, focused study with their faculty mentors. Each residency includes daily seminars and craft lectures, as well as panel discussions and readings by faculty members, visiting writers, editors, agents and other publishing and entertainment-industry professionals.

Screenwriting Degree Program Structure

All courses in the student's screenwriting concentration area are required. There are no prerequisites. The Screenwriting Degree program offers students opportunities to attend craft lectures, seminars and panel discussions across screenwriting and narrative nonfiction concentrations during the residencies.

Screenwriting Concentration

  Fall Term Spring Term
Year 1
  • Writing for the Screen I:  Explorations & Beginnings
  • Screenplay Craft, Criticism & Reflection I:  Directed Readings
  • Writing for the Screen II:  Developing the Screenplay
  • Screenplay Craft, Criticism & Reflection II:  Directed Readings
Year 2
  • Writing for the Screen III:  Work-in-Progress Screenplay
  • Screenplay Craft, Criticism & Reflection III:  Critical Essay
  • Writing for the Screen IV:  Final Thesis Screenplay
  • Screenplay Craft, Criticism & Reflection IV:  Seminar Preparation
Final Residency
  • Writing for the Screen V:  Public Reading

Contact Information

Contact the low-residency MFA Coordinator for answers to any additional questions you may have.

Email us using the request for information form or call 706-452-7947

The Residency

The Residency

The next MFA residency will be held in Athens, Georgia, from January 9-15, 2022.

The residency portions of the MFA Screenwriting Degree program run for eight days, with students immersing themselves in an intensive writing environment for a full, enriching week. The residency provides students with the opportunity to build a sense of community with their peers and to engage in a serious, focused study with their faculty mentors. Each residency includes daily seminars and craft lectures, as well as panel discussions and readings by faculty members, visiting writers, editors, agents, and other publishing and entertainment-industry professionals.

Browse our residency photo album on Flickr!

Sample Residency Guide

Screenwriting Residency Guide (.pdf)